BHK Series compared to Stellar


#1

Hi everyone,

I know this question is not one that many people will like because I’m asking to quantify something very subjective but I’m asking nonetheless. As a PS Directstream owner what do I get more in terms of sound quality when investing into the BHK 300s + BHK Pre vs. going the Stellar 700s route? What’s the gain compared to the higher investment? Can somebody describe the differences between these product lines in terms of sonic experience? Is there something the Stellar line does better than the BHK line?

Thanks!


#2

I had a Stellar S300 at my home for a while. It sounds great. Very full body and a great little amp. It just didnt have the “BAM” I wanted in my system though. I traded it in for a BHK 250. WOW!!! Everything I have ever wanted in my music system came alive! Just my honest opinion…


#3

I had the 300 as well and have since upgraded to the DS jr and the 700s. The difference was appreciable for sure however I’m holding for now at where I’m at. I may entertain and BHK pre over my Cary someday but we’ll see. The best description I have seen on here was that the 700s were “90%” of the 250 but there is still plenty of magic of course in that last 10% . If that is worth the investment, only you can decide but I have pondered the same questions- Jr to Sr, 700 to 250, Cary to BHK pre…? I personally just put my $ in speakers as I deemed my electronics adequate and my ears and multiple reviews seem to prove this out. However it’s a nasty habit this hobby of ours…(lol). best of luck- maybe the best way to determine is have an in home shoot out. I hope to with the pre some day.


#4

None that I am aware of. To my ears BHK is better in all respects to Stellar, but Stellar’s a close second. Maybe others with less of a vested interest will chime in.


#5

Is there a larger performance gap between the SGCD and the BHK preamp than say between the M700 and the BHK 250? IE if you only have the money for one BHK component and the rest would be in the stellar line, which BHK would you buy first? I know that’s probably an unfair question like ranking your kids… :slight_smile:


#6

If I had to venture an opinion I’d say there’s a bigger gap in preamps than amps.


#7

I have had the Stellar M700’s in my office system for a couple of weeks now, and am very happy . While waiting for the amps to arrive my Oppo HA-1 headphone amp went down which I used as preamp and DAC . To prevent music withdrawal I ordered a PWT and Stellar GCD. I was amazed at the great sound I got on CD from my system now. For fun I carried the PWT and Stellar GCD down to my main system. For the first time in over twenty years I had digital that rivaled my vinyl and this was without my Jeff Rowland preamp . In short for old timers in audio who have suffered digital pain for years there now is an affordable path to good digital music.


#8

Thank you for this evaluation. Indeed, Stellar may just be the product that, over time, dispels the notion that an efficient power amplifier can sound not only as good as class AB amps, but in many cases kick their butts.


#9

I added the M700s to my system and was extremely happy with how they gave seemingly limitless power to musical and movie transients. The added bass control they provided over my A/V receiver was a generous and surprising side benefit. The sound of these amps is far from stale, fresh open and clean is how I’d describe them.

I then added a DSJr to the system, removing the A/V receiver completely, and was taken aback by the veil that had been lifted from musical playback in my living room. It was the first time I’ve ever heard a piano and an electric guitar so real sounding that it convinced my brain momentarily that the instrument was litterly playing in the room.

Due to the extreme sensitivity of my speakers and my new found understanding of signal handling, thanks to these forums and the great people in them, I getting into the preamp market. After reading all the information about pairing preamps with the directstream DACs I’m taking a hard look at the BHK. So far the stellar amps and the DSJr have made incredible improvements in my system and from what I’ve read I hope the BHK pre does it thing and takes my sound one step further, especially at lower listening volumes.


#10

I am a preamp nerd. Every step in the chain is critical, but for some reason a preamp makes or breaks a system. My prediction is the BHK pre will be a bigger upgrade than the others.


#11

I agree Brady. I had the 700s and went through a few speakers till I hit a synergistic combination that sounded just right (to me anyway). However then adding a Jr really lit up the system once again. It not only made my hi-res stuff sound great, but everything sounds great. I have gone with a Cary Audio for now for a pre amp and the addition once again kicked everything up a notch. It refined the sound if you will even further. I hope to get to the BHK pre this year based on availability and of course funding. I agree with Elk in that the pre can make or break you. It can add just the right touch of musicality. I can also imagine a 700 + Jr + BHK pre will be a match made in heaven (or maybe at least Boulder, CO) but will = truly wonderful sound.


#12

Interesting topic, especially for people who are really not in a situation to get all potentially interesting power amps into their system and A/B them. I know in the end it is your system and only your ears can decide. Now while saving up for my ‘final’ power amp I still can not make up my mind easily I appreciate all input from experienced and perhaps even biased (PS)audio lovers.


#13

If I was not already, I am certainly convinced of the power of pre in my system anyway. I originally had DSD-700 direct with Dynaudio. I switched speakers/added a Cary pre and really got to a lovely place. However I realized I had never had the DSD-700 direct hook up (without the pre) with my newer speakers/system as is today. Holy smokes, the difference was major-even this old guy heard it immediately. Instruments I heard clearly in the forefront were now way in the back and less detailed (sort of hidden). The pre is back in (obviously). While a BHK amp + Pre would perhaps be ideal, the pre is on the short list for comparison with the Cary. I’m not sure or if I’ll hear differences in say Jr vs Sr, 700 vs 250 but this little pre made a huge difference for me and I hope to test the BHK sometime this year… I guess the good news is, it all sounds great.